Atheist work hard but in the end disappoint
After thirteen years away, Atheist have returned with a select handful of metal festival shows for the upcoming summer, with Bloodstock Open Air being one of the very first crowds to see the reformed band, the question on lips is 'Will they be any good?', and the answer is yes, the band are good, however sound problems and incorrect guitars ruin what could have been a powerful set of death metal anthems.
Vocalist Kelly Shaefer prowls the stage, clearly glad to be back playing to crowds again after so long a time whilst guitarists Sonny Carson and Chris Baker (from Gnostic) pound away at their instruments, showing their both infectious and highly technical guitar riffs which although the sound ruins, are clearly well-pulled off and competently put together. The band cover material from all three of their albums with an enthusiastic flair, which makes it a crying shame that all the effort that Atheist have put in is ruined by something so simple and ever present as sound problems.
The really quite awful sound, particularly in terms of guitars, really mars the enjoyment of Atheist's set unfortunately. On record Atheist sound powerful, interesting and convincing, on stage at Bloodstock however the guitars sound weak, the bass is too loud in comparison and overall the sound for the band feels just weak and thin. Atheist undoubtedly have the tunes but the sound just doesn't do them justice, which unfair as it is, really doesn't contribute to making the set particularly enjoyable. It also transpires during the set that the band don't actually have their own guitars with them, which also inevitably affected the quality of the sound. The performance too is enthusiastic and spirited, yet something doesn't quite gel and to be quite honest I came away rather dissapointed.
Although the band clearly have the enthusiasm and drive to entertain after thirteen years away from the metal scene's eyes, it really didn't seem enough to pull them through and present a set that does their reputation justice. After thoroughly enjoying Atheist on record, I have to say that this comeback set, be it sound difficulties or be it anything else, wasn't as good as it should or hopefully will be in the future.